Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (formerly Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty) is an organization dedicated to abolishing the death penalty in Nebraska. Through education and advocacy, NADP seeks to increase grassroots consensus against the death penalty by building a diverse coalition of those who support abolition for any one of many reasons.
On May 27, 2015 Nebraska made history by ending the death penalty. 30 Senators voted to override the Governor's veto in a landmark move. Now, however, we must keep working to inform Nebraskans that the ballot referendum to bring back the death penalty is wrong for Nebraska!
Here are a few of the many problems with the death penalty in our state:
- The risk of executing an innocent person is real. Nebraska has sentenced innocent people to life in prison with the threat of the death penalty. Innocent Nebraskans have been convicted as a result of shoddy forensics, coerced confessions, jailhouse snitches, and mistaken witnesses. Despite our best intentions, human beings simply can’t be right 100% of the time. And when a life is on the line, one mistake is one too many.
Since the 1970s, over 155 of those on death row have been exonerated, proven to be factually innocent.
- The death penalty is not administered equally. The problem of racial bias in the death penalty has been persistent. For example, defendants are far more likely to receive the death penalty if the victim is white.
- Defendants often lack an adequate legal defense. Nearly all those on death row were not able to provide their own attorney. Court appointed defenders are often underpaid, overworked and unfamiliar with defending capital murder cases. Sadly, an incompetent defense can lead to the conviction of the innocent.
- The death penalty is far more costly than life imprisonment. Because of the costs associated with death penalty cases-- such as expert witnesses and lengthy trials, as well as a costly appeal system-- it costs many times more to operate a death penalty system than to imprison the convicted for life. This money could be used for increased law enforcement, prosecution, crime prevention or support for victims’ families. The death penalty is simply fiscally irresponsible.
- The death penalty is a failure as a deterrent. The death penalty does not deter crime any more than does life imprisonment. States without the death penalty actually tend to have lower murder rates.
- The death penalty hurts victims’ families. The death penalty denies families closure by dragging out the process through years of publicized appeals. A sentence of life imprisonment begins immediately and the perpetrator is locked away, never to be heard from by the victims’ family.
- The death penalty violates the values of many Nebraskans of faith. Many Nebraskans oppose the death penalty on the basis of their religion or other deeply held beliefs. Because the death penalty is based solely on a desire for retribution without concern for rehabilitation and is not necessary to protect society, many Nebraskans find it incompatible with their belief in forgiveness and redemption.
(source: Death Penalty Information Center)
Education and advocacy on this very important issue can be costly. Please consider supporting NADP in order to help bring about a more just Nebraska and a more just world.